Welcome to the SORRY SIX, where each week we rank the NFL’s six ugliest teams. But first, a moment to talk about in-game dining. This week, pizza joined the cast of the ongoing NFL Protest Drama, and—hold on, you’ll get your chance to rant at me in the comments in a moment—that gives us the chance to discuss what foods belong on your coffee table, and later perhaps your floor or wall, during your home football viewing. Here’s the definitive order:
1. Pizza: The New England Patriots of in-game eating. Ol’ Papa John kicked up quite the ruckus Wednesday when he suggested that the NFL’s ratings woes were responsible for his pizza chain’s depressed sales; fewer people watching means fewer people ordering, in theory. Putting aside the political aspect of this for a second, we can all agree that there’s simply no finer gameday food than pizza. It gets delivered right to your door, everyone can shove their grimy hands into the box and get a slice, even when it’s bad it’s still pretty good, it fills you up just fine, and when you’re done you can pitch the box. Nobody’s touching pizza as a gameday staple.
(Semi-political detour: My problem with Papa John’s argument isn’t because I’m shilling for the NFL. Goodell has botched this entire mess worse than the Lions in a decade’s worth of red zones. No, I’m strongly against loud, simplistic solutions to complex problems; everyone who’s got an easy fix to the protest deal is like the clown in the stands bellowing THROW IT LOOOOONGGGGGG on every play. If it was that easy, they’d have already done it, champ.) Anyway, pizza rules. And you can eat it and feel American whether you’re standing or kneeling.
2. Wings: This is a tricky one, because if you have a modicum of talent and can make your own wings, they can give pizza a run. Ever had home-cooked, bourbon-and-Coke-glazed wings right off a grill? Damn, that’ll give you religion. The problem is that in most cases, you’re ordering wings from a restaurant, and that crucial ten minutes from restaurant’s kitchen to your hungry maw gives the wings time to calcify. You can go full Baby Driver and you’re still going to have a cool barbecue sauce exterior on your wings. Plus, they’re messy as hell, which is a real problem if you’re in your own house but no big deal if you’re at a friend’s and can just wipe your hand on the backside of a couch cushion.
3. Grilled meats: Always a hit; burgers with any cheese but American, hot dogs with or without ketchup (or crickets) are as perfect a food as you’ll find in these here United States. The problem is that grilling requires you to be away from the TV for stretches of time, and the burning meat doesn’t much care if your team is going for it on a crucial fourth-and-one. Plus, if you’re watching Red Zone, you’ll miss like 17 touchdowns in the time it takes to light the grill. Points off for in-game maintenance required for grill food.
4. A damn good sandwich: Don’t underestimate the power of a well-constructed sandwich. I’m not talking about one of those slapdash sawdust-and-Vaseline-tasting jobs from [Sandwich chain deleted to avoid angering possible sponsor], I’m talking a real, honest, fresh-cut deli meat and gossamer-thin cheese sandwich on bread that could double as a high-end king-size bed. Find a sandwich joint near you that brings some serious hero (or grinder, or muffaletta, or banh mi, or whatever) game, and pick up twice as much as you think you’ll need. You’re welcome.
5. Chips & salsa: All the messiness of wings with the added drama of a circus balancing act. Unless you’re a grounded eight-year-old sitting in the kitchen, nobody at home watches games at a full table; you’re always leaning forward on your couch and trying to cantilever the salsa down your throat while dodging the random dog that may be skulking around. Plus, everybody gets all upset when you double-dip even though we’re all breathing the same air.
6. Uber Eats: I got a lot of blowback from my line in Wednesday’s Papa John’s story about the rise of Uber Eats and other deliver-anything services; I can only assume that these poor benighted emailers don’t have the option to get their favorite tacos or pasta delivered into their waiting hands. If they did, they would’ve known just how much trouble every pizza place now faces.
7. Anything remotely healthy: Yes, yes, cucumbers and hummus are a delightful and healthy snack, and fresh avocado rolled in a turkey slice can taste damn good. But football food needs to be a month’s worth of cheat days on a plate, and that plate better be deep-fried, too. Serving healthy food during football games is a war crime. It’s true, I looked it up.
There you go. Have your own say in the comments below, if you can find space amongst all the people telling you how they’re not watching football anymore. Onward!
The Sorry Six
Here’s our weekly roundup of the week’s six ugliest NFL teams. Note that this isn’t just a list of the worst teams, though being terrible is a fast route to the list. Also note that the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants are ineligible for the list until further notice due to extreme sorriness. And now, onward.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: What the hell has gone wrong with Tampa Bay? The men in pewter suddenly can’t run, can’t pass, can’t defend. Everybody’s favorite sleeper NFC team is now just sleeping, and everyone who picked Tampa Bay to make noise is running from that pick like rats abandoning a sinking pirate ship.
2. Miami Dolphins: So, last week Miami was lining up against the league’s second-worst offense in the Baltimore Ravens. Good chance for a win, right? Problem: the league’s worst offense is, yep, the Dolphins. Result? A 40-0 Ravens win. Miami misses Jay Cutler under center, and that’s not a sentence ever typed before in human history. On the plus side, Jay Ajayi went from four wins to seven in a matter of moments on Halloween, just like that fantasy football commissioner who suddenly “discovered” a few extra points he forgot to calculate a few weeks back.
3. Washington Redskins: For Kirk Cousins, seeing Jimmy Garoppolo go to the 49ers had to be like seeing someone else ask out the prom date you’ve had your eye on for months. Hang in there, Kirk. We’re sure a turnaround is right around the corner in D.C., just like it’s been for the last 25 years. (Related reading: this great story on Cousins and the Redskins by Kevin Van Valkenburg; turns out all of this could’ve been avoided if Daniel Snyder hadn’t been an RG3-obsessed glory-hunter in the locker room.)
4. Oakland Raiders: Nothing’s going right in Oakland right now; the team’s 3-5 and drifting farther and farther behind the Chiefs, despite that rousing victory over KC a couple weeks back. But conveniently enough, the Raiders have a big trip to Vegas planned for the future. That ALWAYS solves problems!
5. Denver Broncos: So, it looks like the Denver Broncos are in need of some better quarterback play. Let’s run through some possibilities:
No. The man’s neck is papier mache. Let him have his peace.
Hoo boy. Sure, he’s qualified, but – you know what, let’s move on.
That’d be fun as hell to see, but no, not him either.
There it is. That’s the stuff. Come on, Elway. Do the right thing. Bring him home.
6. Detroit Lions: Greatest possible home-security system in the Motor City: paint an end zone in front of your house. Nobody in Detroit will come anywhere near it! Zing!
Sorry Six Tailgate of the Week
— Post Cole-lone (@colejrepka) October 29, 2017
Why? Why would you bring a birthday cake to a tailgate, especially a Bills tailgate? That’s like bringing … well, anything else to a Bills tailgate. It’s going to get smashed, thrown, stomped, desecrated … anything but eaten. Happy birthday, Bills tailgate-goer. Hopefully this serves in place of your memories of Sunday.
Sorry that Happened to You
Yes, it was a nasty, slippery day at MetLife Stadium. But still: Atlanta Falcons QB and reigning MVP Matt Ryan fumbled snaps three times, losing two, as the Falcons just barely hung on to beat the freaking Jets. Seems like the Falcons have stumbled onto a winning formula for handling a near-championship hangover: can’t blow a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl if you don’t reach the Super Bowl.
Sorry Six Fan of the Week
“Rain with a chance of Wentz”? What the hell does that even mean? We get it, Philly, you’re excited—and justifiably so—that your team is leading the NFL at the halfway mark. But that’s no excuse for weak-ass signs like this one. “Wentz” sounds like something yellow and crusty your dentist would discover between your teeth—“You’ve got an awful lot of Wentz buildup in here”—and you’d nod your head solemnly and promise to floss and then never do it.
Sorry Matchup of Week 9
Raiders vs. Dolphins, Sunday night: Sweet mother of mercy, would you look at this? Two of our very own Sorry Six meeting under the lights of Miami on Sunday night! When the ratings come out for this and aren’t exactly stellar—and they won’t be—don’t buy the usual “we’re boycotting the NFL” excuse. No, this is a flat-out stinkburger of a matchup, one that nobody except those with fantasy implications on the line should watch. Go spend time with your family. Or maybe see if the Dodgers and Astros will play another game.
That’ll do it for this week. Thanks for hanging; drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to yell, preach, rant, or just say howdy. Enjoy Week 9, and remember: never be sorry!
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.